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Thread: ... and I would walk/run/drive/fly/grapple/teleport 500 miles

  1. #1
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Switzerland

    ... and I would walk/run/drive/fly/grapple/teleport 500 miles

    I'm currently playing Mirror's Edge Catalyst as well as Gravity Rush (the PS4 remaster), two games that are very much about modes of traversal; most of the fun in both of these games comes from the way they allow you to engage with the places they create through movement. In MEC's case, that's freerunning, while in Gravity Rush you can change the direction gravity works for you, so you can fall into the sky, reverse gravity, run along the side of a building or the underside of a floating isle.

    I love games largely for the spaces they create, so traversal is often central to the games I enjoy most (though not always - I enjoy RPGs, but while they tend to create grand worlds, traversal is rarely one of their best parts). Which is why I was wondering what games people here like best for the way they let you move through them, whether that is by plane, train, automobile, horse, broomstick or split-toe running shoes. I'll start with some of my own favourites:

    • Mirror's Edge (both games): the freerunning isn't perfect, but when it works, I love it. When I'm in the zone, I feel like ME is one of the best games ever. And then something happens to break the flow and I bitch and curse the game - but next time I'm in the zone and hear the sound of Faith's breathing and her feet on the ground, and I'm in love with the game again, for those moments of perfection.
    • GTA: San Andreas: I've enjoyed movement in most GTA games, but my favourite moments are when I'm on a bike in Los Santos, just racing through the 'hoods, or when I've grabbed a Vespa-alike and zoom around San Fierro's hills.
    • Arma (mainly A2 and Operation Arrowhead): I liked helicopters in the Arma games from the beginning, but I came to love them when I got a TrackIR. With headtracking, I very much enjoy just flying around; I made myself several missions consisting of nothing other than ferrying soldiers from one place to another. Getting better at flying helicopters is great fun. I'd love to do more of this in actual combat missions, but I suspect I'd be shot down very quickly. (I might have to create a couple of small-scale missions along these lines to fulfill that wish.)


    I'm sure that the moment I post this I'll think of a dozen other, better examples, but this is mainly to get the ball rolling.

  2. #2
    Chakat sex pillow
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Location: not here
    Heh, when I saw the thread title I thought it was going to be about Just Cause. Just Cause 3 does about everything named in it (yes, including teleporting).

    I've always liked platformers for the sense of zen-like flow they can put you in, where you're interpreting environments as you race through them on the fly, chaining movement and action in lockstep to execute perfectly timed loops of acrobatic grace.

    Mirror's Edge 1 was the first game to make me actually dread falling, because the sound of the wind whistling past your ears followed by the visceral *thunk* of a body meeting asphalt followed by a black screen translated my mild real-world acrophobia into a palpable heart-skip in-game.

    Anyway, Just Cause 3 does movement in just about the least realistic fashion possible (rivalled only by Saints Row 4), which is why I love it. It's very Mediterranean (a given for a placed called Medici), so there's lots of sparkling blue ocean and azure sky, verdant forests, and towns and cities built into the sides of sloping cliffs. It's beautiful and bland all at the same time.

    Where the game is excellent, though, is in letting you use its infamous grapple to soar into the air and then deploy your parachute to float over to where you want to go; it's a game in itself piecing together the environment to get to the nearest bit of land that can pull you up to a higher altitude, until you're scraping the side of a mountain.

    'course, if that bores you, you can just press Y on your gamepad and deploy your wingsuit to skim over the surface of the Earth. And yes, you can use the grapple to pick up speed, but only if you time and angle it correctly -- if you don't, it's essentially death by headbutting the ground at terminal velocity.

    The cars and boats and planes handle like they're made of lead, of course, but they're fun enough for the few minutes you need to get enough speed before jumping off to zoom through the landscape like a human bullet.

    There's DLC that straps a jetpack onto your back and lets you essentially become a human bomber, complete with machine gun and recharging guided missiles. It's more of a cheat, but it's just another option to let loose, and the game's explosions would make even Michael Bay weep at the sight of it all.

    All in all, it's a good game to just faff around in and waste time engaging with the interlocking systems for half an hour, while maybe destroying things to unlock the next main mission. The meat of it for me isn't actually shooting all the things, it's the experience of being a tourist on fast-forward.
    Last edited by Sulphur; 10th Apr 2017 at 06:47.

  3. #3
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Switzerland
    Quote Originally Posted by Sulphur View Post
    Mirror's Edge 1 was the first game to make me actually dread failing, because the sound of the wind whistling past your ears followed by the visceral *thunk* of a body meeting asphalt followed by a black screen translated my mild real-world acrophobia into a palpable heart-skip in-game.
    They removed that *thunk* in Mirror's Edge Catalyst. If it could be modded back in, I'd do so in a heartbeat. It's exactly that visceral full stop of a sound that's missing for me. At the very least I wish they'd made it optional, but I guess it was considered *too* visceral.

    I should probably check out Just Cause 3 at some point, but I didn't particularly enjoy the second game. It was good, but I didn't *love* it; so often, the more sandboxy a game is, the less it pulls me in.

    One other note about traversal in games: I've found that games where I enjoy movement get even better if they offer coop. Driving somewhere in a car with my coop mates in GTA V was always more enjoyable than just driving there in SP, even if I was just sitting in the back, enjoying the scenery and the banter. The long drives at the beginning of a mission did get a bit old after a while, mind you.

  4. #4
    Thing What Kicks
    Registered: Apr 2004
    Location: London
    While I bitched and moaned about Breath of the Wild over Mumble to the TTLG co-op crew on Saturday, its decision to let you climb anywhere right from the get-go is incredibly liberating. Similarly, the early acquisition of a glider to traverse long distances (after climbing to high locations), is great. It gets a lot of other stuff wrong, but these two things it gets very, very right.

    New Doom's fast-mantle and double-jumping make that game a joy to play, and as with most id games, just feels right (even though the mantling very occasionally fails).

    And then Shadow Warrior 2 goes to the extreme, with sprints, double-jumps, charges and combinations of all three, all with air-control to boot. Removing all reality from movement in much the same way that Saints Row IV and Prototype did really makes for some fun.

    I'll always love the swinging in the 3D Bionic Commando. While it could be frustrating initially, once you got the hang of it, it was incredibly rewarding, and the lethality of the combat on the higher difficulty levels required you master the swinging in order to become a hard target to hit.

    Of course, another game that's all about movement is the rather spiffy Clustertruck, which is like a more formalised version of Quake 3's Defrag mod. Death-defying, physics-breaking, time-critical jumps from truck-to-truck, where the ground or anything else not a truck is death.

    And yeah, Quake 3's movement will always have a special place in my heart, especially when it came to OSP's Clan Arena mode, where falling and self-damage were removed, promoting insane, rocket-jump propelled combat. Double, even triple rocket-jumps were common place as you'd zip around the levels. While e-sports are dominated by things like Starcraft, Overwatch and Rocket League these days, I always thought some of the best "Cyber-athletes" were the De-Frag experts. I can spend hours watching the balletic movements of these guys in videos like Maze - Hud.

    Ooo, and I've just remembered that I like any game that gives me a degree of control while sliding down a slope, such as skidding down mountains in Witcher 3, shield-surfing in Breath of the Wild and snowboarding in 1080 on the N64. I spent HOURS in the half-pipe stunt mode of that game.
    Last edited by Malf; 10th Apr 2017 at 08:35.

  5. #5
    Moderator
    Registered: Jan 2003
    Location: NeoTokyo
    I like GTAV and Skyrim for this.

    On Mirror's Edge, that you feeling you describe is why I spent so much time doing speed runs, just so I could hone that perfect flow so I could maintain it over a whole race. Feels good, man.

  6. #6
    Thing What Kicks
    Registered: Apr 2004
    Location: London
    Ooo, Dying Light too!
    When that flows right, it's great. Nowhere near as detailed a Parkour model as Mirror's Edge, but still very fun. Plus, grappling hooks!

  7. #7
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2002
    Location: Pennsylvania
    There's an indy game called Windlands that is pretty much all about traversal. You have two grapple arms, making it kind of a Spider-Man simulator in first person. There's also crazy running and wall-jumping, with plenty of moments that made my toes curl and my hands sweat.
    I've only played it in VR, which is a whole other level of awesome! It does support regular screens as well, but anyone who likes traversal should definitely give VR (in general) a try.

  8. #8
    Southquarter.com/fms
    Registered: Apr 2000
    Location: The Akkala Highlands
    Malf beat me to it on Breath of the Wild, but I'll 2nd the motion - it's really cool being able to climb any obstacle/terrain in the game, right from the start. Just think if you could do that in Skyrim. And paragliding is super fun, in addition to being a great way to get around.

    This thread made me think of two other games, Infamous and Crackdown, which are big and open world, and the player has various ways through powers and tools to get across the city quickly via the rooftops and streets. I own some of them, haven't played either one extensively, but after just now watching some Infamous vids on youtube, it make me want to fire it up again.

  9. #9
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Switzerland
    Quote Originally Posted by Weasel View Post
    There's an indy game called Windlands that is pretty much all about traversal. You have two grapple arms, making it kind of a Spider-Man simulator in first person. There's also crazy running and wall-jumping, with plenty of moments that made my toes curl and my hands sweat.
    I've only played it in VR, which is a whole other level of awesome! It does support regular screens as well, but anyone who likes traversal should definitely give VR (in general) a try.
    I've got it, and I should play more of it, but so far I've mainly found that I suck at being an off-brand Spiderman. Every time I've played Windlands, I ended up dangling at the bottom of a tree. It's the whole staying in motion thing that I haven't figured out how to do yet; perhaps it's that I hang on too long, rather than letting go when I'm at the highest point.

  10. #10
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2016
    Location: Blundering through the shadows
    Dishonored and its sequel both have a movement system that feels really good, especially with the mobility upgrades blinking around is always fun, and even after the novelty wears off it's still incredibly useful as a stealth or escape tool.

    Portal and Portal 2 also feel great, especially since they have momentum down pretty well. The fact that you don't ever die from fall damage makes it even better since it means that you're never really consgrained by the thought of "will this stupid and dangerous stunt get me killed?"

    I'm also a fan of TG's movement, although it's mainly because of the quirks of the early Dark Engine. The bunnyhopping is ridiculous, and in places like the Little Big world you can practically break the sound barrier if your timing's good enough. Also, with NewDark (this applies to T2 as well), the mantling feels more like stealthy climbing around and less like throwing yourself at a wall with all the grace of a wet sack of cement. Rope arrows are always great too, but that pretty much goes without saying.

  11. #11
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Switzerland
    Talking of Dishonored, one thing the series does that I absolutely wish could be added to all the Thief games is the contextual double-ducking: I want to be able to duck that inch or so lower to get underneath tables and desks. In most cases it might not help much directly (either I'm in the light or I'm not), but it makes me feel so much more like I'm part of that world than if I just bump into tables and that's all there is to it. If Garrett can jump on top of tables, he should also be able to crawl under them.

  12. #12
    Prototype 1 & 2 and Just Cause 2 are the first games that I think of when thinking about fun mobility. In Prototype at least a part of the fun comes from it taking place in a real world location (Manhattan Island), but a large part is how it actually feels to run up the side of a building, jumping into a glide and then landing with a giant stomp scattering a group of enemies. Kinda like SR4 did later on, just with weird mutations and picking up old ladied only to dive them into the ground from the top of Empire State Building. And then taking their form.


    Super Speed in City of Heroes and Super Speed & Acrobatics in Champions Online come up next. Two MMOs that give (gave in the case of CoH) you some decently sized areas and fun ways to get around in them, the fact that the movement powers also work in combat helps make things more chaotic and fun.

    After that I think of the modern Sonic Games, with Unleashed (mostly the daytime levels), Colors, Generations and Lost World. While they aren't open world, the sense of speed and agility they manage to convey is just a wonderful experience.

  13. #13
    Administrator
    Registered: Oct 2000
    Location: Athens of the North
    I also really enjoyed the freedom of movement that Saints Row 4 gives you - yes, it's very silly but it suits the setting nicely. After I completed it I looked around for other games with a similar mechanic I may have missed and Prototype was the only one that seemed to be mentioned (other than the defunct City of Heroes which I enjoyed at the time).

    For some reason I never picked up the Prototype games but just checked and they're both on sale on Steam. They're now both in my library

  14. #14
    Thing What Kicks
    Registered: Apr 2004
    Location: London
    Prototype takes itself a little too seriously, and the story's rather morbidly grimdark, but the powers are definitely interesting. Apparently, Hulk: Ultimate Destruction, the developer's prior game, is more fun while still having a lot of the same abilities, but that was limited to PS2 era consoles.

  15. #15
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Ireland
    I'm just going to say that in general, it's fun to be able to move freely through a game world, and it also makes that world feel much more like a real place.

    It just bugs me when games have a set map of exactly which areas you are allowed to walk in rather than actually allowing you free movement. As a random example, in The Witcher (the original one), Geralt is limited to exactly the paths that the game designers put there, so you can't e.g walk off a tiny edge or do anything unexpected, which just makes the thing feel more game-y (in spite of the game's strengths in other areas.)

    It also bothers me when game designers remove the most basic movement options such as jumping and ducking just because they aren't particularly necessary for the gameplay, which further enforce that "game on rails" feeling.

    I guess that's a part of the immersive sim mentality. It's that extra bit of simulation where you keep the player where you want them through smart terrain design, rather than just putting invisible walls and barriers everywhere.

    Simulated movement is one of the most important types of simulation, and I really feel that it should be included whenever possible, not just in immersive-sim type games.

  16. #16
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Switzerland
    Simulation is definitely one thing I value when it comes to movement in games. I don't need it to be hyperrealistic, but it should feel coherent. Even some minimal physics - inertia, gravity - make a huge difference already, though I expect they're difficult to tweak so they actually feel good in a game.

    Another small thing that can add to my enjoyment of moving around in a game is small reactive animations: your character reacting to the environment, reaching out when they get close to a wall to judge the distance, that sort of thing. I recently watched a video showing all sorts of such animations in Uncharted 4. They can make your character feel more grounded in the world they inhabit, for want of a better term, and in that sense they serve some of the same function as simulated movement as described above by Nameless Voice.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Malf View Post
    Prototype takes itself a little too seriously, and the story's rather morbidly grimdark, but the powers are definitely interesting. Apparently, Hulk: Ultimate Destruction, the developer's prior game, is more fun while still having a lot of the same abilities, but that was limited to PS2 era consoles.
    The protagonist of Prototype 1 is definitely Super Emo McEmopants. But as far as movement goes, it's definitely one of the more fun games I've played, even if it is mostly a reskin of H:UD (which I have also played).

  18. #18
    Level 10,000 achieved
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Finland
    My picks.

    Best inner-city driving: Midtown Madness - I spent so much time just driving around Chicago and listening to music. Up until this point all the driving games I'd played had been on keyboard, but MM introduced mouse-control, which lent itself well for the delicate adjustments needed for gracefully weaving through traffic at high speeds.
    Best open world dirt biking: Motocross Madness 2 - improved on the first by getting away from the supercross tracks and introducing wide open levels I could just drive around for hours on end. I've been looking for a game that could deliver similar open world dirtbike thrills since, but nothing has quite lived up. MXGP has the physics, but you're stuck on the tracks. MX vs ATV Reflex did have some free roam levels, but they weren't quite big enough. GTA IV had the most enjoyable dirtbike physics I've experienced since MM2, just the right balance between realism and arcade, but the game did not have the landscape to make the most of those wonderful bike physics. Sure, you could mod in wide open landscapes, but somehow those felt a bit empty and lifeless, divorced from the proper game.


    Got close, but it's no Motocross Madness 2

    One day I'm gonna make an open world motorbike game of my own. It'll be kinda like that Ewan Mcgregor show Long Way Round, but a videogame. It'll be great. You'll see.

    Best off-roading: Spintires - What else? When they released the 2012 demo, I explored every last nook and cranny of that map, just to get all the offroading I could out of it. Such lovingly crafted trucks, with impecable physics, realistic sounds, and beautiful plumes of smoke bursting from the exhaust when you floored it. And the physics-simulation extended to everything around the truck as well. Trees that would bend and break when driven into with enough force. Mud that deformed beneath your wheels. Water that pushed away when you drove into it and got VISIBLY MUDDLED when you drove your dirty truck tires into it! Sometimes there's SO MUCH BEAUTY IN THE WORLD I JUST CAN'T TAKE IT

    Best stunt-flying around the city: GTA: SA - There, I SAID IT! Shut up you cry babies who don't know what you're talking about. I spent so many hours in the cockpit of the Hydra, perfecting my daredevil stunts, crashing into many a bridge and radiostation-mast before I earned my wings.

    Also best bicycles: GTA: SA - those bikes, man.

  19. #19
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2001
    Location: Somewhere
    I am having fun with PLAYERUNKNOWN BATTLEGROUNDS recently. Its the latest early access battle royale style game, very much like early Dayz(without zombies), but with the BR twist. Has a huge arma2 style map, very detailed. The cool thing is instead of spawning randomly everyone starts in a big plane and you can jump out whenever you like.

  20. #20
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2004
    All good picks for different reasons here, so I'd like to add a different one (that I am surprised hasn't been mentioned yet) - Half Life. There was just something very... physical and tactile about the engine. You really felt your weight, inertia, the collisions. Comparing HL to Unreal, Doom or the other titles here (particularly 3rd person), the latter always felt "floaty" or "indirect", whereas HL always felt like I had direct control over my volume in a realistic (if simplified) physical space. I always knew exactly how fast I will run, how far I could jump, how tall I was, how quickly I'd fall, etc.

  21. #21
    Moderator
    Registered: Jan 2003
    Location: NeoTokyo
    Interesting. I hated HL movement for the same reason. It felt bumbling and heavy-handed to me. (I loved it for the visual storytelling though.)

  22. #22
    Member
    Registered: May 1999
    Location: on the socio path
    My vote for the worst would be anything that uses Gamebryo.

  23. #23
    Thing What Kicks
    Registered: Apr 2004
    Location: London
    Well Gamebryo's a strange beast. Most people know it because of The Elder Scrolls and 3D Fallout games and Bethesda's refusal to adopt anything else. And yes, the movement and animation in those games is stilted and unrealistic, sure. But that's down to the developer rather than the engine.
    If you take a look at some of the other games that have used Gamebryo, it quickly becomes apparent that the engine is what you make of it. There are some games in that list where movement is fine, and some are even exceptional.

    So I reckon you'd be safer saying that movement is terrible in Bethesda's first-party games.

  24. #24
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Switzerland
    You're not wrong as such, but I have had surprisingly good times doing something akin to primitive parkouring in Oblivion, jumping from fences to walls to roofs while exploring some of the cities.

  25. #25
    Thing What Kicks
    Registered: Apr 2004
    Location: London
    Oh yeah, my opinion is that the movement in those games is mostly mediocre, but due to the open nature of them, it allows for some interestingly expressive movement on occasion. Interesting by accident, not design. For example, I loved the hilariously broken enchanting system in Morrowind, that allowed for game-breaking speed and jump enchantments on boots. And I did that mainly to avoid sodding Cliff Racers.

    I was just clarifying for Abysmal that his knowledge of Gamebryo was probably solely limited to The Elder Scrolls / Fallout 3 etc. He may have played other Gamebryo games without knowing he's been doing so.

    Of course, I could just be being a presumptuous asshole

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